What to see in Yosemite National Park


After several trips to San Francisco, I did not have the opportunity to go on a route through the Yosemite National Park or Yosemite National Park, one of the most famous places in the United States. Years ago the snow or bad weather prevented me, until a kind spring with the thaw and quite pleasant temperatures managed to meet this goal and find the park in the best possible conditions. A spectacle of waterfalls with flowing water seldom seen was waiting for me.

What to see in Yosemite National Park - Glacier view

Route through Yosemite National Park

I only had two days to consider what to see in the Yosemite National Park so I focused exclusively on the Yosemite Valley where at least I had to make a couple of routes. My mission was to enter the park through the town of Butterfly, which names a sequoyas park very famous that in 2016 it was closed for maintenance, so if people were left wanting to see sequoyas they always had the options to make a route through Big Basin Redwoods or Muir Woods, both very close to San Francisco.

What to see in Yosemite National Park

In May only the road (140 Butterfly), along with Oakhurst (41) and finally that of Priest (120) were the only ones open since the spectacular Tioga road it was still closed by snow according to the part of Yosemite.

With all this the mission was basically to look for the best places in the Yosemite Valley and make the routes of Mirror Lake Track and Nevada Fall Trail, both with little difficulty but with really splendid places.

Yosemite Valley

He Yosemite Valley It is huge, over 20 kilometers long and where there are plenty of camping, cabins and some hotels in its central part. This valley is completely flat and several thousand years ago it was a great lake, not forgetting that many years ago it was a very long glacier tongue, the great architect of creating this wonderful place.

What to see at Yosemite National Park - Tunnel View

The first thing we find when entering the valley is a detour to one of the most famous viewpoints in the area, the Tunnel View. From this point you can see much of the valley and the majestic Captain, a vertical wall of more than 600 meters that was conquered less than 40 years ago. Many climbers from Campgroup number 4 camped at their feet for years making several attempts, until a crazy name climber Warren harding managed to raise it after 47 days of non-controversial climbing.

What to see in Yosemite National Park - El Capitan

Continuing the road you pass near the waterfall of Bridalveil Fall and some river beaches like Cathedral Beach and Sentinel Beach, closed on this date, until what they call Yosemite Village, a place where there is a supermarket, souvenir shops, a workshop for vehicles, several hotels and multiple car parks. From here you can make the route that goes up at Yosemite Falls (Upper and Lower), a bit strenuous routes, but in any case I always recommend going better toVernal and Nevada Falls, from my most spectacular point of view.

The best time to see the Captain and the waterfalls around him is at noon or in the morning.

What to see at Yosemite National Park - Bridalveil Fall

Following the road we will reach Curry village where there is a restaurant and lots of campsites and bungalows, the latter at slightly expensive prices, especially if you request them with heating. Here there are several parkings and these are ideal to be able to make the route that goes up to theVernal Fall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.

What to see in Yosemite National Park - Vernal fall

This waterfall is just 30 minutes walk from the campsite of Upper Pinnes or the "Happy Isles" nature center. Later, if we feel strongly we can climb toNevada fall, another wonder of nature.

What to see at Yosemite National Park - Nevada Fall

Another quite interesting route that is also near the Upper Pines campsite, or what is the same at the end of the Yosemite Valley, is to climb to the Mirror lake, right at the feet of the majestic Half dome.

What to see in Yosemite National Park - Mirror lake

This lake is usually found quite dry in summer, so it is advisable to ask before walking the 2 kilometers that are there, but the only thing we can admire is the majesty of the Half dome, a wall of 900m vertical and 2693m high considered the mecca of rock climbing.

The best time to visit the Mirror Lake is after lunch or late afternoon

What to see at Yosemite National Park - Half Dome

From here we can return to the beginning of the Yosemite Valley, right where the Tunnel View. Just from the viewpoint there is a tunnel that crosses the mountain in a southerly direction through one of the most visited places in winter, the ski resort of Badger pass. This road is open all year exclusively to the station, but usually open from May to November until the end of this, the Glacier point view, one of the best panoramic views of Yosemite National Park.

The best time to visit the Glacier View point is 1 hour and a half before nightfall

What to see in Yosemite National Park - Glacier view

Tioda Road (Tioga Road)

As I mentioned earlier, our visit was made in the month of May and a road that we really wanted to visit was the Tioga Road. This road due to its altitude and the exposed it is, usually remains closed until June and closes again by November. In May there is hardly any snow left in many parts of the road but there is a false sense of security due to the frequency of avalanches in certain parts of it. Even so, we always have the option of going to the Big Oak Flat Road where there are also beautiful waterfalls but unfortunately there are areas of forest quite affected by the latest fires.

What to see at Yosemite National Park - Cascade Creek

If we had the opportunity to take the Tioga Road without a doubt we would make the route to Cathedral Lakes, the simple Gaylor Lakes or the most demanding Monkey pass.

Routes recommended by the Yosemite Valley

Here are the routes we liked most in Yosemite:

  • Nevada & Vernal Fall (13km and 600m of unevenness): the most beautiful waterfalls in the valley. Vernal is accessed from a fairly wide and excessively comfortable road, which is usually crowded with walkers. In Nevada, less people usually go up to require greater effort and there are areas where one could suffer from vertigo. Best of all, it is a 100% circular route.
  • Mirror lakes (8km almost without slope): another one of the top routes of the lake and where you can have the opportunity to see the Half Dome reflected on a lake. The bad thing is that sometimes this lake is sometimes dry ...
  • 4 miles trail (7.7km and 975m of unevenness): Route that does not make much sense since it goes up to the Glacier point view from the Yosemite Valley, which forces you to take a bus to go around that sometimes it costs to take.
  • Upper & Lower Yosemite Fall (11.2km and 825m of unevenness): linear route and somewhat hard to climb two of the most representative waterfalls in the valley. Almost unnecessary if we go to Nevada and Vernal, although it is also very beautiful, especially if we go to Yosemite Point.
  • Taft point and Sentinel Dome: near Glacier Point. A route that combines one of the best views of the Captain and the Upper Fall.

More information on the website of the Yosemite National Park.

Practical data

Before leaving for the United States

  • United States Planet's Guide
  • Airport Transfers
  • Car rental in USA with a 15% discount
  • The best excursions in the United States

When to visit Yosemite National Park?

Ideally, visit it in spring when most of the roads are open and there are no closed trails. The bad thing that from summer it is quite hot and on many occasions the waterfalls and rivers closest to the valley are practically dry, so it is convenient to look in advance at the webcams of the park to avoid a sad surprise. Still, the visit is well worth it.

In winter numerous routes with snow rackets or skis can be done from the valley, which can be very interesting.

The routes from the Yosemite Valley are very hard

The answer is a NO resounding There are for all levels and most are excellently documented so that nobody gets a surprise. If we have to talk about some demanding route, these would be the one that goes up to the Upper Yosemite Fall and from there to Yosemite Point or surroundings.

What does it cost to enter Yosemite

The cost of access to Yosemite National Park is 30$ and is billed per vehicle. This pass is valid for 7 consecutive days.

How to get to Yosemite

The ideal is to arrive by car to travel it to our pleasure. Even so, there is a free internal bus service and some public transport option to arrive from cities like San Francisco. Here for example you can take a bus to Merced withAmtrak and from there another to Yosemite.

Where to sleep?

Be careful with this point because we can take a dislike. Yosemite is the most visited national park in the United States, so staying here can be a headache if we don't book months in advance. In my case, I tried to book a cabin a month and a half in advance and it was impossible, with the tent being the only option, or going to a hotel in Butterfly an hour from the valley, since he was not willing to pay for a room the chilling amount of 500$

Outside Yosemite you can also sleep in the portal, just 5 minutes from the entrance. Prices are generally high and their occupancy high.

He camping It is the most economical option and without a doubt the one that will best integrate us with the park. To reserve a place just go to theYosemite National Park website. and its cost is usually 26$ by store However there is a camping series that no reservation required and access is only cut once they are filled. These campsites are:

  • Camp 4 : Located at the base of the captain and ideal for climbing. Located in the Yosemite Valley.
  • Bridalveil creek : closed in winter to be located on the road that goes up to the Glacier Point view.
  • Tamarack Flat / White Wold / Porcupine Flat / Tuolumne Meadows : located on the Tioga road, therefore closed for much of the year.
  • Yosemite view lodge: hotel of great proportions at the gates of Yosemite. Despite its size it is recommended to book.

If we camp for free on a multi-day route, we must take a permit that costs about 5$.

Another option is the cabins, which are really large tents with a multitude of amenities, many of them optional such as TV, heating, ..., etc. for a higher cost than 100$ night.

And of course, there is always the hotel option, mainly in Yosemite Village But the prices are really high.

Guided tours to Yosemite

If we don't have time we can always opt for a guided tour to Yosemite where we will see the main points.

Yosemite excursion

Other fantastic places near San Francisco?

  • Hiking through Pinnacles National Park : route through the national park closest to the city.
  • Muir Woods : the closest redwood forest visited from San Francisco.
  • Whale Watching in Monterrey.
  • Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.
  • Big Basin Redwoods : If Muir woods fell short, this is your place.
  • Lake Tahoe and Mount Tallac
  • Trekking in Yosemite

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